India post 213-4 after Rahul, Raina half-centuries
Dublin, June 29 (PTI) Continuing their tune-up for the England tour, KL Rahul and Suresh Raina struck attacking half-centuries as India posted a huge 213 for four in the second Twenty 20 International against Ireland here on Friday.
Barring the odd hiccup, it was another dominant display from the Indian batsmen as Rahul (70) and Raina (69) bossed the Irish bowling to put on 106 runs off 57 balls for the second wicket.
This was after the hosts won the toss and opted to field once again. They made one change, and brought in the experienced William Porterfield. Keeping the England T20I series in mind, India made four rotations.
Siddarth Kaul made his T20I debut while Umesh Yadav, Dinesh Karthik and Rahul were included in the playing eleven. Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and MS Dhoni were rested.
While the changes were all like-for-like, India opted for permutations in their batting order. Skipper Virat Kohli (9), out for a duck in the first game, opened the innings with Rahul. Again though, he fell cheaply, out caught off a skier at fine leg as George Dockrell held on impressively.
Rahul then took centre-stage and smacked the Irish bowling to all parts of the ground. Overall, he hit three fours and four long sixes during his 36-ball stay, replicating his purple-rich form from the 2018 Indian Premier League season.
He brought up his 4th T20I half-century off 28 balls and then accelerated further thereafter as India crossed the 100-mark in the 10th over and looked comfortably set for another 200-plus total.
However, just as Rahul was approaching his century, he played a habitual false stroke and was dismissed.
Kevin O'Brien (3-40) was the partnership breaker for Ireland, striking off his first delivery in the 13th over, accepting a simple return catch. It became a double-blow as Rohit Sharma (0) was caught at backward point two balls later, a shot that can be described lazy at best.
It deprived Dinesh Karthik of an opportunity to bat, but more importantly, the two wickets also sucked out momentum off the Indian innings. Raina though countered with some attacking strokes and brought up his fifth T20I half-century off 34 balls.
Overall, he hit five fours and three sixes and lifted India in the latter half of the innings, adding 41 runs with Manish Pandey (21 not out off 20 balls) for the fourth wicket.
He fell to O'Brien too, becoming his third wicket on the day as India were placed at 169-4 in the 18th over.
Hardik Pandya (32 not out) had other plans though, and he played a 9-ball blitzkrieg knock, which included four towering sixes at the small Malahide Cricket Club ground.
Thanks to his efforts, wherein O'Brien's final over of the Indian innings was taken for 21 runs, India managed to surpass their total from Wednesday